30 Years of the Employment Support Team

Grow People

Southampton City Council’s Employment Support Team are celebrating 30 years of supporting people in Southampton into employment, training and volunteering opportunities. A month of online activity in October will mark their anniversary, with facts, figures and information helping to illustrate the invaluable work that the service provides.  

The team have worked with over 10,000 residents who are disadvantaged in some way, and dedicated Employment Officers have supported 3,300 individuals into paid employment in the last 3 decades. The service has also supported approximately 2,500 voluntary placements and enabled 4000 individuals to complete training courses. In recent years the team has focused on helping people to remain in employment by working with individuals and their employers, helping 300 people to stay in work. The team also helps residents to set up their own businesses and as a team have supported 15 new start-ups. 

30 years in numbers


We have supported over 10,000 Southampton residents who are disadvantaged in some way


Approximately 3,300 people receiving support from our team have entered meaningful paid employment


We have helped 4,000 individuals to complete training courses, gain new qualifications or start college or university


As a team we have supported 2,500 people to complete voluntary and work experience placements


We have worked with employers and clients to enable 300 people at risk of losing their jobs to retain their employment

Our history

City Limits Employment was founded in October 1990 as part of Southampton Day Services as an initiative to help clients get involved in meaningful activities such as work and volunteering. Using the model of Supported Employment, the team supported service users with learning disabilities to engage with the community, build confidence and find sustainable employment.

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Who we work with

Since our founding, the team has developed and expanded to help more people from a diverse range of backgrounds such as young people aged 16-24, older workers, people from the BAME community, people with physical disabilities and health conditions, individuals with sensory conditions, adults with mental health conditions, council tenants and people with an offending history.

Job seekers

  • Young people aged 15-24
  • Older workers
  • People with health conditions
  • People with learning disabilities
  • People with mental health conditions
  • People experiencing Perinatal Mental Health
  • Offenders/ex-offenders
  • Council Tenants


  • Small businesses
  • National companies
  • Start-ups
  • Charities
  • Training providers
  • Voluntary organisations

The Matrix Accredited Employment Support Team work in a person centred way and provide impartial Information, Advice and Guidance to empower clients to make decisions and achieve their goals. In addition to Supported Employment, the Employment Support Team have also incorporated the Individual Placement Support (IPS) model to tailor their support to even more people.

The team’s work not only supports clients but also extends to the employers who employ their clients to enable employers to make workplaces accessible and supportive. This includes offering in-work support, supporting with aids and adaptions, offering advice and guidance to employers and working with the teams to support the clients.

The Employment Support Team has changed and adapted to new challenges over the last 30 years, but their philosophy remains the same – anyone can work regardless of their disability or disadvantage, as long as it’s the right time for the individual, it’s the right opportunity and the right support is in place.

Cabinet Member for Children and Learning Councillor Dr Darren Paffey said: “30 years of supporting individuals into employment and training is a fantastic achievement and has helped to cement Southampton’s reputation as a City of Opportunity. As we celebrate the history and success of the team, it’s also important to look ahead to the future and how the team can support clients and employers working in the ‘new normal’.”

Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Care Councillor Lorna Fielker said: “By supporting people with health conditions and disabilities, the Employment Support Team have helped to diversify Southampton’s workforce and highlight the economic, social and health benefits that come with a diverse workforce. The team have also responded to COVID-19 by continuing to offer virtual support, organising recruitment events and assisting with the council’s community support hub.”

Find out more about the work of the Employment Support Team, as well as their plans for the future.

If you’re a job seeker, employer or resident of Southampton that would benefit from the team’s support, please email employment.support.team@southampton.gov.uk or call 023 8091 7585.

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